Report: Tennessee Inmate on Hunger Strike After Relocation, Destruction of Property

“YOU WON’T BE NEEDING THIS”

by Sharon Rondeau

(Jun. 12, 2017) — On Monday, after receiving a well-sourced report that Tennessee state inmate Grenda Harmer had been relocated from the South Central Correctional Facility (SCCF) to the Morgan County Correctional Complex (MCCX) on June 3, we received a letter from Harmer detailing confiscation of his clothing and destruction of personal property.

The letter was written on the back of an MCCX memo dated June 6, 2017 bearing the subject line “Cell Inspection-REMINDER” because his supply of paper was reportedly confiscated by Morgan County correction officers.

In the first paragraph, Harmer reported that because of the treatment he received when first entering the new facility, he “went on a hunger strike.”

As he had reported occurred while he was at South Central, a pair of desert boots purchased with authorization from an institutional supplier, Union Supply, was taken by intake personnel with the explanation that “You can’t have them because they don’t sell them anymore.” Harmer described that as “a lie.”

“The only thing I was allowed to have was the clothes I’m wearing,” Harmer wrote, and reported that an intake corporal “refused to give me a bedroll and hygiene kit.” He added in parentheses, “Cameras will show I went to the Unit with only the clothes I’m wearing.”

He said that as he was taken to his new unit, he heard a correction officer say to another, “He’s a problem.  Take care of him.”

The Post & Email has received numerous reports of correction officers pummeling and punching inmates without cause, particularly at MCCX, and goading inmates to fight one another, apparently for sport.  We have been told that a Sgt. Cashmore is one of the worst correction-officer offenders, if not the worst.

Harmer additionally reported having been forced to stand in pouring rain on two occasions on June 5, with a sergeant reportedly telling him afterward, “You can file your grievance. You can file your lawsuit. You can write the Commissioner. I don’t care! If you don’t want to get wet, don’t eat.”

Harmer described later events that day as:

At 4:50 pm 3 prison guards entered my cell and started reading my documentation of events here. They eventually called me into my room. The biggest guard ripped up what I wrote and told me: “You won’t be needing this.” They handcuffed me, took me to Sgt. Farmer, then to High Security. Before I left the cell I did ask the biggest guard what was I being locked up for any responded: “For whatever I decide.”

…The one guard who chewed tobacco broke my pen and said (while in laundry room):  “You won’t be needing this.”

His last remark on the back of the memo reads, “I slept inside a torn mattress to keep warm.  Denied meds.  Refused food.”

Additional entries written on a scrap of paper in diary format are as follows (entries typed exactly as they were written):

June 3rd + 4th:  I asked for a bedroll (sheets, blanket, towels, washcloth) and a hygiene kit.  Each time I was denied.  Pod officers said I wasn’t to be given nothing.  On these 2 days I filed 6 grievances.  (Cameras will verify these events.)

June 6th: I was finally given a bedroll and hygiene kit. I was given disciplinary also. Officer refused to give me a copy. I asked for pen + denied. Denied meds. Refused food

June 7th: Denied a pen. Finally got ANTIVERT. Thats all. Denied other meds. D-Board came and asked if I’m ready. I said no to put it off. He said no and I told him to get away from my door. I was asked by nurse and guards why I wasn’t eating. I said: “Bring me a pen so I can write a letter and I’ll drink milk.” She refused.

June 8th: Nurse ask me why I refused to eat. I responded: “Bring me a pen so I can write a letter and I’ll drink milk.” She refused. Tonight I finally got a guard to bring me a pen. Tonight, med cart guard call me a: “Smart ***.”

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